Nezih Guner


                Professor at CEMFI


                ICREA Research Professor at MOVE (on leave)


                Adjunct Faculty, Department of Economics and Economic History, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (on leave)


                Research Professor, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (on leave)


                I am a Managing Editor of Economic Journal, and an Associate Editor of Journal of Demographic Economics and SERIEs (the Journal of the Spanish Economic Association)


                Phone: 34-91-429 4017      E-mail:


            Publications         CV



Demographic Transitions across Time and Space (with Matthew J. Delventhal and Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde), NEW


The demographic transition, i.e., the move from a regime of high fertility/high mortality into a regime of low fertility/low mortality, is a process that almost every country on Earth has undergone or is undergoing. Are all demographic transitions equal? Have they changed in speed and shape over time? And, how do they relate to economic development? To answer these questions, we put together a data set of birth and death rates for 186 countries that spans more than 250 years. Then, we use a novel econometric method to identify start and end dates for transitions in birth and death rates. We find, first, that the average speed of transitions has increased steadily over time. Second, we document that income per capita at the start of these transitions is more or less constant over time. Third, we uncover evidence of demographic contagion: the entry of a country into the demographic transition is strongly associated with its neighbors, countries that are geographically and culturally close, having already entered into the transition even after controlling for other observables. Next, we build a model of demographic transitions that can account for these facts. The model economy is populated by different locations. In each location, parents decide how many children to have and how much to invest in their human capital. There is skill-biased technological change that diffuses slowly from the frontier country, Britain, to the rest of the world.


The Spanish Personal Income Tax: Facts and Parametric Estimates (with Esteban García-Miralles and Roberto Ramos), NEW


In this paper, we use administrative data on tax returns to characterize the distributions of before and after-tax income, tax liabilities, and tax credits in Spain for individuals and households. We use the most recent available data, 2015 for individuals and 2013 for households, but also discuss how the income distribution and taxes have changed since 2002. We also estimate effective tax functions that capture the underlying heterogeneity of the data in a parsimonious way. These parametric functions can be used to calculate after-tax incomes in surveys where this information is not directly available, and can also be used in quantitative work in macroeconomics and public finance.


Child-Related Transfers, Household Labor Supply and Welfare (with Remzi Kaygusuz and Gustavo Ventura)

What are the macroeconomic effects of transfers to households with children in the United States? How do alternative policies fare in welfare terms? We answer these questions in an equilibrium life-cycle model with household labor supply decisions, skill losses of females associated to non participation, and heterogeneity in terms of fertility, childcare expenditures and access to informal care. We contrast transfers that are contingent on market work (childcare subsidies and childcare credits) with those that are not (child credits), and evaluate reallocation of resources across programs as well as expansions of them. We find that expansions of transfers of the first group have substantial positive effects on female labor supply, which are largest at the bottom of the skill distribution. Expanding childcare credits leads to long-run increases in the participation of married females of 10.6%. An equivalent expansion of the child credits leads to the opposite, a reduction of about 2.4%. The expansion of existing programs generates substantial welfare gains for newborn households, which are largest for less-skilled households. Expanding childcare credits leads to the largest gains in labor supply and welfare and achieves majority support among newborn households. 

Is Marriage for White People? Incarceration and the Racial Marriage Divide (Elizabeth Caucutt and Christopher Rauh)

The black-white differences in marriages in the US are striking. While 83% of white women between ages 25 and 54 were ever married in 2006, only 56% of black women were: a gap of 27 percentage points. Wilson (1987) suggests that the lack of marriageable black men due to incarceration and unemployment is responsible for low marriage rates among the black population. In this paper, we take a dynamic look at the Wilson Hypothesis. We argue that the current incarceration policies and labor market prospects make black men riskier spouses than white men. They are not only more likely to be, but also to become, unemployed or incarcerated than their white counterparts. We develop an equilibrium search model of marriage, divorce and labor supply that takes into account the transitions between employment, unemployment and prison for individuals by race, education, and gender. We estimate model parameters to be consistent with key statistics of the US economy. We then investigate how much of the racial divide in marriage is due to differences in the riskiness of potential spouses. We find that differences in incarceration and employment dynamics between black and white men can account for half of the existing black-white marriage gap in the data.


Optimal Spatial Taxation: Are Big Cities Too Small? (with Jan Eeckhout)


            Read Barcelona GSE Focus feature on this article


We analyze the role of optimal income taxation across different local labor markets. Should labor in large cities be taxed differently than in small cities? We find that a planner who needs to raise a given level of revenue and is constrained by free mobility of labor across cities does not choose equal taxes for cities of different sizes. The optimal tax schedule is location specific and tax differences between large and small cities depends on the level of government spending, the concentration of housing wealth and the strength of agglomeration economies. Our estimates for the US imply higher optimal marginal rates in big cities than in small cites. Under the current Federal Income tax code with progressive taxes, marginal rates are already higher in big cities which have higher wages, but the optimal difference we estimate is lower than what is currently observed. Simulating the US economy under the optimal tax schedule, there are large effects on population mobility: the fraction of population in the 5 largest cities grows by 7.6% with 3.4% of the country-wide population moving to bigger cities. The welfare gains however are smaller. This is due to the fact that much of the output gains are spent on the increased costs of housing construction in bigger cities. Aggregate goods consumption goes up by 1.51% while aggregate housing consumption goes down by 1.70%.



Marriage and Health: Selection, Protection and Assortative Mating  (with Yuliya Kulikova and Joan Llull), European Economic Review, 104, 138–166, May 2018 (Reprinted for the Special Issue on "Gender Differences in the Labor Market", European Economic Reivew, 109, 162-190, October 2018) (previously titled as "Does Marriage Make You Healthier?")


Link to the published version

Read the Economist Blog feature on this article

            Read the VOXEU feature on this article


Managers and Productivity Differences (with Andrii Parkhomenko and Gustavo Ventura), Review of Economic Dynamics, Vol 29, July 2018, 256-282

Link to the published version

Read the VOXEU feature on this article

Family Economics Writ Large  (with Jeremy Greenwood and Guillaume Vandenbroucke), Journal of Economic Literature, Vol 55, December 2017, 1346-1434.

            WATCH TEDx Barcelona talk on macroeconomic approach to family economics